Where Memories Go

  • by Sally Magnusson
  • Narrated by Sally Magnusson
  • 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This book began as an attempt to hold on to my witty, storytelling mother with the one thing I had to hand. Words. Then, as the enormity of the social crisis my family was part of began to dawn, I wrote with the thought that other forgotten lives might be nudged into the light along with hers.
Dementia is one of the greatest social, medical, economic, scientific, philosophical, and moral challenges of our times. I am a reporter. It became the biggest story of my life.
(Sally Magnusson)
Regarded as one of the finest journalists of her generation, Mamie Baird Magnusson's whole life was a celebration of words - words that she fought to retain in the grip of a disease which is fast becoming the scourge of the 21st century. Married to writer and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson, they had five children of whom Sally is the eldest.
As well as chronicling the anguish, the frustrations and the unexpected laughs and joys that she and her sisters experienced while accompanying their beloved mother on the long dementia road for eight years until her death in 2012, Sally Magnusson seeks understanding from a range of experts and asks penetrating questions about how we treat older people; how we can face one of the greatest social, medical, economic, and moral challenges of our times; and what it means to be human.
An extraordinary and deeply personal memoir, a manifesto and a call to arms, in one searingly beautiful narrative.


What the Critics Say

"Touching... There are many moments of heartwarming sentiment. Literary snowdrops grow out of the barren earth.... This book is the constant, tenuous, but vital reconnection between a child and its mother.... A fine book." (The Sunday Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Compassionate, dispassionate and groundbreaking

Would you listen to Where Memories Go again? Why?

Yes, to consider some of the philosophical issues raised about the nature of being and the role of memory in defining a person.

What did you like best about this story?

The love, warmth and intelligence.

Which character – as performed by Sally Magnusson – was your favourite?

Not relevant.

Any additional comments?

I listened to an Audible version of this book, narrated by Sally Magnusson. In addition to enjoying her excellent narration, I admire her courage in reading this deeply affecting and personal account.

Dementia is a difficult and poorly understood subject, but one increasingly likely to touch many of us one way or another. Sally Magnusson's account is a touching tribute to her vibrant and vivacious mother whose descent into this disease is meticulously recorded. It's heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking but filled with warmth, insight and humour. The narrative flows seamlessly back and forth between time and people, with a richly detailed look at both her mother and father, the family background and relationships. We learn a great deal about Scottish and Icelandic influences and Maimie Magnusson's skill with words. I was unaware of her journalistic background and she was clearly held in high regard by press magnates in her early career. Her love of language appears to be something that remained with her, even during darker moments when other parts of her mind had unravelled. Those moments often provided humour but also insight into the person a d her probable awareness. A fitting and memorable tribute to a remarkable lady.

Sally Magnusson's research is extensive. The narrative is filled with fact and figures. Much of it is stark food for thought. But she also raises some challenging philosophical questions about the essence of being; the role of memory and the extent to which it defines 'being'. For that alone, I'm recommending it to everyone. It's a truly remarkable narrative.

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- Vicuña

It made me cry

What did you like most about Where Memories Go?

Combination of genuine honest emotion and we'll researched facts

What did you like best about this story?

The insight into the family relationships and the beautiful narration by Sally Magnusson

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The description of family togetherness and mutual support at the time of Magnus's illness

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

It was both beautiful and heartbreaking. A real triumph to so sensitively capture the essence of Mamie through the dramatic and frightening changes. Sally your mum would be proud !

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- Wendy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 17-04-2014
  • Publisher: John Murray Press